10 tips for success from Connie Wimer
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– Emily Blobaum, Fearless editor
Connie Wimer on risk-taking, tips for success
With 45 years of business ownership under her belt, BPC Chairman Connie Wimer reflects on how she got to where she is, and shares 10 tips for success
Connie Wimer woke up in the middle of night on Sept. 1, 1976. Usually a deep sleeper, she was having first-day jitters.

Several months earlier, she had purchased Iowa Title Co. She had spent a lot of time solving the business questions, but hadn’t yet stopped to think about how her first day as owner would actually go.

"What am I going to say? What am I going to wear?" she remembers thinking.

It was 1976, the thick of second-wave feminism.  

The Equal Rights Amendment was making its way through the states for ratification. The Supreme Court had recently declared sex discrimination a violation of the 14th Amendment. Women had the right to obtain credit cards separately from their husbands.

But banks didn’t yet give out loans to women without a male co-signer. Only two women – Katharine Graham and Marion Sandler – held the top positions at Fortune 500 companies and just 20% of managers were women. Women were still expected to stay at home and take care of their children and husbands.

In the years to come, Wimer many times would find herself to be the only woman in the room. Later, she would become the first female chair of the Des Moines Chamber Federation and the first woman to be inducted into the Iowa Business Hall of Fame.

Perhaps none of those accomplishments would have been achieved if Wimer hadn’t been motivated to send her three daughters to college.

"I was determined that they would each have a college education," Wimer said. "I woke up one morning and the oldest one is approaching college and we have no money saved."

Yet there was a problem. Wimer herself attended Morningside College for a year, but didn’t graduate due to financial circumstances. She realized no one was going to hire her at a high salary without a degree. She decided that she would need to be her own boss.

"I’ve had a W2 form every year since I was 12 years old, and I thought, I’ve made money for everybody I’ve worked for, so why can’t I do it for myself?" she said.  

Having been a legal secretary for 20 years, Wimer "knew every lawyer in town" and knew a lot of bankers and Realtors from her husband’s position as the attorney for the Des Moines Board of Realtors.

Despite "not knowing anything about it," she approached the four title companies in Des Moines and asked if she could buy them, even though none of them were for sale.

At the time, Iowa Title Co. was losing money and was illegally selling title insurance, Wimer said. But they were pricing themselves at a fifth of what the other three were listing themselves as, so Wimer took out a loan from a friend and, with a shaky hand, signed a 20-year contract, she remembers.

She knew that it was a huge risk.

"Had it failed, all of my dreams would have been gone. They would have taken our house and everything we had. My children wouldn’t have been able to go to school."

Armed with optimism and open-mindedness, Wimer questioned everything and encouraged the staff to try new ways of doing things.

In 1981, she bought the Des Moines Daily Record, a legal publication with a circulation of 700, with the sole purpose of gaining access to legal notices more quickly. It too was losing money, but Wimer considered it an investment that would pay off. Besides, doing so would make the title company more profitable.

After a judge told her that the Polk County courts no longer needed a legal publication, Wimer had five days to find new sources of revenue.

"That was the most frightened I had ever been in my entire life," she said.

Wimer was adamant that Des Moines needed a paper that covered small business news. The Des Moines Register wasn’t interested, she said.

Thus, in October 1983, the Business Record was born.

"I kept saying to myself, ‘Someday I’ll thank those judges.’ I’m not sure what made me say that because I didn’t have a plan at the time. … It didn’t happen for a lot of years, but I’m so grateful to them now because there’s no way I would have taken the risks that I had to take."

Wimer sold Iowa Title Co. in 1985 but remained as president until 2001. The Business Record has since expanded and evolved into Business Publications Corp., which is home to the Business Record, dsm Magazine and WriteBrain. Wimer serves as chairman of BPC.

I made it my goal to run a marathon in all 50 states. Here’s what I’ve learned so far.
What has gone up more during the pandemic ― your weight or your confidence? The New York Times reported a study that showed people gained an average of about 2 pounds per month during the pandemic. Weight is easy to measure. Confidence, not so much.

As a professional life coach, clients come to me all the time because they want to feel more confident. And guess what: That confidence does NOT come from a number on the scale. It comes from mindset. It comes from taking action. It comes from celebrating and delighting in who you are.

I have found one of the best ways to celebrate and delight in ourselves is by moving our bodies. My life changed for the better in 2005 when I "accidentally" ran a marathon. OK, it wasn’t exactly an accident. But when I happened to walk into an information night for Team in Training, it was completely unplanned. By the time I walked out of that room, I had signed up to become a member of Team in Training (part of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society). I would raise money and awareness of blood-related cancers. In return, they would teach me how to run a marathon. That marathon (my first) was in Anchorage, Alaska.

Fast-forward to the finish line. I was a new woman. I realized beyond a shadow of a doubt that I could do hard things. Talk about a confidence boost – I finished a 26.2-mile race! I declared then that I would run a marathon in all 50 states. When you think of a marathon runner, what image comes to mind? Many of us think of Olympic-type athletes. But that is not at all what it looks like in the back of the pack, where I always am. The back of the pack comes in all shapes, sizes and ages. These people look like your friends and neighbors. They look like YOU.

And when everyday people show us that they can do extraordinary things, it’s so inspiring. You don’t have to be fast. You just have to put one foot in front of the other. You have to consistently show up for yourself. Start where you are. Then push your edge, just a tiny bit.

Becoming a runner is a gift that you can give yourself. According to running statistics published in, less than 1% of the U.S. population has run a marathon. I have run 11 so far.

Here’s what I’ve learned:

1. Training for a marathon isn’t easy. So it’s important to make it worth it. For me, this means I want a trip out of it.

2. Races are exciting. You are intentionally surrounding yourself with other people who choose to do hard things. And that kind of collective energy is off the charts.

3. Slow and steady wins the race. You win if you have the courage to show up. If you finish? Hell, that’s first place in my book!

4. A marathon can be an experience that goes beyond the race. Always take the day after the race off if you can. Use the day to have an adventure.

5. Whenever possible, make it about something bigger than yourself. There is no feeling in the world like making the world a better place.

If you consider yourself a back-of-the-pack runner (or you want to be!) give yourself the gift of motivation, accountability and connection by joining the 12 Minute Turtles. We are an online running community for back-of-the-pack runners. And we will be partnering with races across the country who want to roll out the green carpet for the back of the pack. The first official race that we are partnering with is the Des Moines Marathon on Oct. 17, 2021. Find out more at This is your time.

Left: New York Times journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones. Center: Aviator Wally Funk. Right: Sprinter Sha'Carri Richardson.
In the headlines
Advocating for Others: Lynh Nguyen Patterson
Lynh Nguyen Patterson knows how to talk teeth. And she knows how to make you care. That’s her job as government relations manager at Delta Dental of Iowa, a nonprofit insurance company. Patterson’s primary responsibility is to convey to legislators the value of oral wellness as a critical public health issue and call for supporting policies. Patterson didn’t realize it at the time, but what was absent from her childhood laid the foundation for her future career. Her parents weren’t political. Like many Vietnam War-era immigrants, their struggles revolved around emerging from poverty. READ THE FULL STORY>
Worth checking out
Gretchen Carlson, five years after her lawsuit brought down Roger Ailes (Variety). Why women have suffered more financially during the pandemic (National Geographic). PHOTOS: 15 things folks can't live without in a pandemic, from ants to holy water (NPR Goats and Soda). 'There's a place for every single one': Summer construction camp aims to boost girls' interest in the field (Des Moines Register). Motherhood could have cost Olympian Allyson Felix. She wouldn't let it (Time). Have women-led companies met their financial promises on social justice? (The 19th). Two words from Nikole Hannah-Jones transform workplace diversity (Fortune).
This month we have decided to switch things up a bit. Our Fearless Friday event scheduled for Friday, July 30, will now change to an in-person networking event on Thursday, July 29.

We are taking this opportunity to connect with our readers in person, as well as celebrate our recent national recognition of Fearless.

Mark your calendars for
Thursday, July 29, 4 to 6 p.m. at Jasper Winery in Des Moines for a casual mix and mingle event. This is a free event and open to anyone, all ages. Stay and enjoy music by Decoy as a part of the Jasper Winery concert series. Food and beverages will be available for purchase.
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